Sunday, 27 December 2009


I thoroughly enjoyed this year's Christmas Doctor Who, which came as close to giving me nightmares as it has since I was about ten. It was the usual hokum but, my, how well it was done. There were quite a few references to cannibalism, which I believe is a new departure. I would be wary of allowing a young child to watch it.

The acting was particularly good. Bernard Cribbins, who played the Doctor's assistant over forty years ago, was a minor marvel. And David Tennant's talents are well-recognised.

But it was John Simm, who played the Master, the Doctor's enemy since Jon Pertwee days in the 1970s, who stole the show, occasionally chewing up what nowadays looks like quite expensively arranged scenery. His performance was pretty radical: he reminded me of Al Pacino in Scarface.

Another performance, this time probably more deliberately referenced, was Rutger Hauer's in Blade Runner: some lines and poses were similar and he also had his hair died blond. Doctor Who, intertextuality and the homage. Who'd have thunk it?

By the way, an appropriately spooky fact. Simm came to TV stardom via Life on Mars, where he played detective Sam Tyler. And Sam Tyler is an anagram of Masterly...

As I say, spooky. Is the actor, John Simm, in some parallel universe where he's doomed to play characters in TV sci-fi whose names all share the same letters? It could take a series or two to work out how and why...

This Doctor Who is a two-parter with the second part appearing on New Year's Day. I hope I'm brave enough to get out from behind the sofa.


Sophie King said...

It was good, wasn't it? That moment in the cafe between the Doctor and Wilfred made me a bit teary. Simm was really, horrifyingly mad. My daughter was suitably appalled by his table manners and the suggestion that he was so hungry he ate other people. I heard David Tennant on Desert Island Discs this morning - what a thoughtful, lively, lovely man he sounds. I can't imagine Dr Who without him.

Gaw said...

People talk about the cross-generational appeal of Dr Who - it's certainly the case with that nice young Tennant. Plenty of girls, young and old, have a bit of a crush on him, I suspect. I know T is gutted at his being replaced by the ugly one from 'Party Animals'.